Title page for ETD etd-04102008-161802

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Nelson-Smith, Kenyetta Quenishia
URN etd-04102008-161802
Title Learning Styles and Students' Perception of Teachers' Attitudes and Its Relation to Truancy Among African American Students in Secondary Education
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Human Resource Education Workforce Development
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Geraldine H. Johnson Committee Chair
Joan Benedict Committee Member
Micheal Burnett Committee Member
Robert Laird Committee Member
Younghee Lim Dean's Representative
  • learning styles
  • secondary education
  • high school
  • African American
  • perceptions
  • perception of high school students
Date of Defense 2008-03-28
Availability unrestricted
Many researchers have examined the effect of truancy and student achievement. However, there has been little or no focus on the effect of truancy and non-attendance among ethnic minorities. The current study examined how African American students’ learning styles and their perceptions of teachers’ attitudes toward them and the learning environment influenced their decision to become high truants. Additionally, the study sought to find if selected demographic factors had any relevance on the truancy rate of African American students. The researcher used several assessment instruments to measure the variables being tested. The Index of Learning Styles Questionnaire (ILS), developed by Richard M. Felder and Barbara A. Soloman at North Carolina State University, was used to determine the preferred learning styles of African American students. The researcher designed instrument consisted of three parts. The first section, demographics, was used to measure descriptive interests for the researcher. The second section was used to gather data on truancy status. The third section was a 15-item questionnaire used to determine students’ perception of teachers’ attitudes toward them and the learning environment. The sample included 166 9th grade African American students enrolled in freshmen English classes in a public school located in a low socioeconomic inner-city in the southern region of the United States. Descriptive statistics, Cronbach’s alpha estimates for reliability, and multiple regression analysis were the analysis methods used in the study. The results from the analysis suggest that students with low grade point averages; those who had siblings who left school without receiving a high school diploma; those who had been in legal troubles; those who were not involved in clubs/organizations; and gender in relation to females were more likely to be truant. The variable “grade point averages” was found to be the most significant with the dependent variable “unexcused days missed.” The variables together explained 32.5% of the variance in the dependent variable.

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